State care of children needs Māori approach after 'colonising process' - Children's Commissioner

New Zealand's care and protection system needs a Māori world view with two-thirds of the children in state care Māori, according to Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft.

Mr Becroft told TVNZ1's Breakfast the system needed a complete turnaround as it currently had a European view with Māori add-ons despite the majority of the children in care being Māori.

"Particularly given the huge over-representation of Māori in the system it just about needs a Māori world view as its basis," he said.

"We’ve really got a European world view with Māori add-ons, we’ve got a really strong case for turning that around completely.

"I guess you could say there’s never been anywhere in the world that I know of where an indigenous community has prospered and flourished when there’s been a colonising process."

"Now that's a controversial word, colonising,  but that’s what took place. It's never been good for indigenous peoples, especially indigenous children and I think what we’re seeing the care and protection system together with modern, systemic bias plays out in the over-representation."

"That ought to concern all of us."

Mr Becroft said changing to a kaupapa Māori needed to be led by the community.

"The time really has come to deliver services in partnership with iwi and Māori organisations, encourage those initiatives wherever possible and in the words of Ngāpuhi very recently, 'no Ngāpuhi boy or girl in state care by 2020'.

Iwi and Māori organisations needed to be resourced and encouraged to take a greater involvement, Mr Becroft says.

"The new legislation makes it crystal clear that things will need to change and Māori will need to be involved in the delivery of services."

Two-thirds of the children in state care Māori. Source: Breakfast

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